As you may already know, today is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day that celebrates the political, economic, social and cultural achievements of women. IWD is also a day for accelerating gender parity. Not one government, charity, women’s network or organisation is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organisations run their own IWD related campaigns and schemes. This year the main campaign is around #PressForProgress. The #PressForProgress theme is a reminder that, despite all of the progress that has been made in gender equality, there is still a long way to go. So Press For means to keep fighting for progress for equal rights.

We decided to celebrate this by looking at what the tech industry are doing for girls and women right now.

Microsoft have come up with a great scheme this year, they are encouraging younger girls to become more involved within technology. They have named it #MakeWhatsNext. They’re inspiring the next generation to become science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leaders. It is statistically proven that only 16% of women globally graduate with STEM degrees and Microsoft are encouraging young women to change this. This is a scheme that they have been continuously pushing out since International Women’s Day 2016.

One way that Microsoft are doing this is by holding, throughout March, DigiGirlz events all around the world. These events give primary and secondary school girls the opportunities to connect with Microsoft employees, participate in technology and computer workshops and learn about careers in technology.

They are also using the hashtag #MakeWhatsNext which is being used on social media to share great stories about women and girls in STEM.

To help girls take action and shift the perceptions of STEM jobs, Microsoft has partnered with LinkedIn and are going to be launching a tool called Career Explorer. This will go live on on Tuesday the 13th of March 2018. This tool will be powered by LinkedIn and will highlight different ways that STEM is in demand and will then show girls how to pursue their skills and passions in specific areas.

So Microsoft want to encourage you to get involved. You can do this in many ways such as keep the conversation going with your children and in your schools if you’re an educator. You can share the below video to show young girls how their passions can turn into solutions for problems today.

Other ways that you can take part in International Women’s Day is by taking a pledge online for how you plan on working towards gender equality. Or you can submit your #PressForProgress photos that show your commitment to gender equality to – these images will be shared throughout social media and on the website. Follow the hashtag #IWD2018 for more news and information.